As the days draw out and the winter chill thaws, Rita Krombach knows what is coming next.
Each year in April, for more than three decades, she has pounded the pavements of the capital, going door-to-door to collect money for Luxembourg’s Red Cross.
“Normally people are very friendly. Sometimes they are tired or don’t have time. We know that we’re doing this to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people. We know that we’re doing a good thing.”
Known as the “mois du don” or month of giving, the volunteer-led campaign is a chance for one of the grand duchy’s biggest charities to gather much-needed funds. It raises between €800,000 and €900,000 through these non-marked donations to fund the charity’s activities.
Krombach first got involved as a collector 35 years ago, stepping up to manage a small team of collectors and then becoming president of the Luxembourg City section 20 years ago. “I coordinate collections around the city. Each sector has its own streets, which they visit with teams. They also distribute information and forms in case people are out so they can do a bank transfer.”
There are around 2,000 collectors across the country, of which 200 collect as much from the 115,000 residents in the capital as they can. Because they are all volunteers, individuals decide the size of the area they want to cover. “If they want to visit a single residence or an entire street, they can choose,” says Krombach. “Some people collect in pairs. Because we don’t have many collectors, I tend to go alone and it means I can go out when I have time.”
This year the volunteer will cover streets in Bonnevoie, where she will be out for two hours most evenings and often at weekends--when most people are at home--encouraging residents to donate. “You feel helpful and it’s very satisfying.” She explains it is not such a hard sell--because it is part of a global organisation, most residents are familiar with the Red Cross and often people will recognise her from previous years. “It’s always a nice surprise when people are kind or they come to find me,” she says.